United States District Court, D. Maine
RECOMMENDED DECISION AFTER SCREENING COMPLAINT
PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(E)
C. Nivison U.S. Magistrate Judge
action, Plaintiff Gregory Paul Violette, a former participant
in the reentry program administered by Volunteers of America
Northern New England, at its Northern Maine Regional Reentry
Center, alleges his federal rights were violated when he was
exposed to offensive language at the Center and when the
Center failed to forward his mail to him after his release
from the Center. (Complaint, ECF No. 1.) Plaintiff has also
filed a motion to compel the disclosure of the address of
certain individual defendants, and a motion for leave to file
an addendum. (Motion to Compel, ECF No. 5; Motion for
Leave, ECF No. 6.)
filed an application to proceed in forma pauperis (ECF No.
4), which application the Court granted. (ECF No. 8.) In
accordance with the in forma pauperis statute, a preliminary
review of Plaintiff's complaint is appropriate. 28 U.S.C.
a review of the complaint in accordance with 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2), I recommend the Court dismiss Plaintiff's
party is proceeding in forma pauperis, “the court shall
dismiss the case at any time if the court determines”
that the action is “frivolous or malicious, ”
“fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted,
” or “seeks monetary relief against a defendant
who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B). “Dismissals [under § 1915] are
often made sua sponte prior to the issuance of process, so as
to spare prospective defendants the inconvenience and expense
of answering such complaints.” Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 324 (1989).
considering whether a complaint states a claim for which
relief may be granted, courts must assume the truth of all
well-plead facts and give the plaintiff the benefit of all
reasonable inferences therefrom. Ocasio-Hernandez v.
Fortuno-Burset, 640 F.3d 1, 12 (1st Cir. 2011). A
complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted if it does not plead “enough facts to state a
claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007). “The relevant question ... in assessing
plausibility is not whether the complaint makes any
particular factual allegations but, rather, whether
‘the complaint warrant[s] dismissal because it failed
in toto to render plaintiffs' entitlement to
relief plausible.'” Rodríguez-Reyes v.
Molina- Rodríguez, 711 F.3d 49, 55 (1st Cir.
2013) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 569 n. 14).
Although a pro se plaintiff's complaint is subject to
“less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted
by lawyers, ” Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519,
520 (1972), the complaint may not consist entirely of
“conclusory allegations that merely parrot the relevant
legal standard, ” Young v. Wells Fargo, N.A.,
717 F.3d 224, 231 (1st Cir. 2013). See also Ferranti v.
Moran, 618 F.2d 888, 890 (1st Cir. 1980) (explaining
that the liberal standard applied to the pleadings of pro se
plaintiffs “is not to say that pro se plaintiffs are
not required to plead basic facts sufficient to state a
alleges that while he was a participant in the reentry
program conducted by Volunteers of America Northern New
England at its Northern Maine Regional Reentry Center, the
program manager, Ms. Francis, permitted residents to watch an
R rated movie containing “offensive and obscene”
language, in violation of program rules and regulations.
Additionally, Plaintiff alleges that the Center failed to
forward mail to him during the 30 day period following his
release, also in violation of program rules and regulations.
has joined Ms. Francis, the United States Department of
Justice, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Volunteers of America
Northern New England, and the Northern Maine Regional Reentry
Center as defendants. Plaintiff alleges the defendants other
than Mr. Francis failed to train Mr. Francis.
“Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction.
They cannot act in the absence of subject matter
jurisdiction, and they have a sua sponte duty to confirm the
existence of jurisdiction in the face of apparent
jurisdictional defects.” United States v. Univ. of
Mass., Worcester, 812 F.3d 35, 44 (1st Cir. 2016). In
this case, Plaintiff, a Maine citizen, has asserted a claim
against a group of proposed defendants that includes at least
one citizen of Maine (Ms. Francis). Plaintiff thus has not
alleged the diversity of citizenship necessary for diversity
jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Given the lack of
diversity jurisdiction, in the absence of any cognizable
federal claim against Ms. Francis and Volunteers of America,
this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over
evidently attempts to invoke this Court's federal
question jurisdiction by alleging that the proposed
defendants violated certain policy language established by
Volunteers of America, which language may have been
promulgated by the Bureau of Prisons. See,
e.g., 28 C.F.R. § 540.25 (change of address and
forwarding of mail for inmates). To the extent Plaintiff
seeks to proceed against private parties, Plaintiff has not
cited any authority to support a recovery under federal law
against a private person or entity based on the facts
alleged. Indeed, even when a constitutional right is at
stake, the Supreme Court has not recognized implied damages
actions against private corporations under contract with the
Bureau of Prisons. Corr. Servs. Corp. v. Malesko,
534 U.S. 61, 66 (2001). See also Stoutt v. Banco Popular
de Puerto Rico, 320 F.3d 26, 33 (1st Cir. 2003)
(“The Supreme Court has already limited Bivens
actions by refusing to extend them to private entities acting
under color of federal law.”).
extent Plaintiff seeks to proceed against the United States
based on his inclusion of the Bureau of Prisons among the
named defendants, while this Court has subject matter
jurisdiction over certain claims against the United States,
28 U.S.C. § 1346, Plaintiff's claim is based on the
conduct of Volunteers for America and its agent, Ms. Francis,
and not the conduct of the Bureau of Prisons. In other words,
Plaintiff has not asserted any facts that would support a
claim against the Bureau of Prisons. Given the ...